I’m definitely late to the game on this film but better late than never, no?
It’s not hard to see why polite society was clutching its collective pearls upon the release of Joker. It was never so much of a question of the possibility that it could incite random violence from the disenfranchised ‘potential’ perpetrators of mass shootings. It’s more a question that it could incite real dialogue about the moral inconsistencies and failures of the rest of us… our collective role in creating the disenfranchised. Joker asks us to look at our part in the mass shootings and suicides and violence. It demands that we look in the mirror. It points out that we have to throw away the nonsense of good and evil behind violent events. Joker might even suggest that we need to ask the question…
What do you get when you…
You know. The difficult question. The one that asks what the fuck did you assholes really expect? These “monsters” after all weren’t created inside a vacuum. Things rupture inside our bubble of chaos and violence and cruelty. Forcing people to live in poverty and putting the blame on them is systemic violence. Not taking care of our sick is violence. Shit is going to happen.
Even gun control is a bandaid measure. It is at best harm reduction. When the Right says that if you ban guns only criminals will have guns they are partly correct. Nobody is ready to ask though why we have people who are so ready and willing to commit violence with guns. Making it harder to get guns just potentially lowers the fatalities. That’s it. It never addresses our own toxicity, the poison that creates the cancer. It’s easy to fall back on the good and evil bullshit.
The scariest thing about the Joker is that it asks us to man up and take responsibility.
All that said, it makes Joker one of the most intelligent and honest films in years. It’s ironic that the cartoonish violence it displays isn’t very far removed from reality. It takes a comic book adaptation to show us a fair representation of our lies. Joaquin Phoenix also put in a gutwrenchingly real performance. You witness his psychic disintegration and can smell the anxiety coming off the screen. He is absolutely perfect and if he doesn’t get the Oscar for this it will just further show that we are a society rife with moral cowardice.
Direction is flawless.
Screenwriting is flawless.
Cinematography is flawless.
The soundtrack is flawless
Joker is beyond a doubt the best film in years. Let’s just skip the chitchat and give it Best Picture, Best Male Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Soundtrack, etc.
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